BMPA addresses meat plant coronavirus links

BMPA addresses meat plant coronavirus links

Chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the concern over Covid-19 outbreaks in meat processing plants.

Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association.

Discussing the measures that BMPA members have been taking from the start of the pandemic to keep their staff safe and minimise the health risks in their plants, Allen said: “It has been very challenging. The plants weren’t designed in the first place for people to work 2-metres apart. It’s been incredibly challenging to put everything in place.

“Our members started straight away working with authorities to find processes in their plant so that they could do that and we managed to, on the whole, do 2-metre distancing or put Perspex screens in between people or we’ve avoided people working opposite one another and we’ve given them, where necessary and where there’s no other alternative, some face masks and protection.

“I think anything to do with meat and the production of meat and the processing and cooking of meat would absolutely destroy the virus, you wouldn’t be able to get infected form meat that way.”

“We’re looking at each case that we have in this country to see what lessons we can learn and certainly the biggest case we’ve had in this country, the biggest problem that’s been identified actually wasn’t in the plant, it was the fact that the facilities, the restaurant facilities and the toilets and the changing rooms, they hadn’t really put in the right precautions and social distancing wasn’t really happening there. It was compounded in that area, not actually in the plant.

“To put this in context, there are 1,079 registered meat plants in the country and the Food Standards Agency said to us yesterday that were five that had a major problem, but that’s five too many.”

Allen appeared alongside professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, Lawrence Young, who added: “I don’t think there’s any risk or concern of consumption when the meat is cooked. This is a very, very fragile virus at some levels.

“I think anything to do with meat and the production of meat and the processing and cooking of meat would absolutely destroy the virus, you wouldn’t be able to get infected form meat that way.”

Allen concluded: “Our plant managers, on a daily basis, are trying to look at how they can improve things and make things a lot better for the staff in the plants. We’re really dependant on Public Health England giving us the guidance and steering us into what works and what doesn’t work and we’re really interested to see what sort of new guidelines that we’re going to see, because hopefully, we’re going to see the lessons learnt in the plants where we’ve had problems in this country.”

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